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Leah Rosen and Ruth Amir

This study is part of a wider research, which examines different strategies of exclusion and inclusion in public discourse and in the construction of collective memory in Israel. At the beginning of the 1930s, following the great economic crisis and the rise of National Socialism in Germany, a plan was conceived to send Jewish German youth to Palestine. Thus began the Project of Youth Aliyah, and with it the debate within the Zionist Movement and the Yishuv in Palestine on the proper station of immigrants in the emerging Israeli national identity. We characterize the discourse on the young refugees in the 1930s by highlighting two issues: first, the aims of the project for the emigration of Jewish German youth; and secondly, the national identity which should be inculcated in these young immigrants.

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The Other and the Ordinary

Demystifying and Demusealising the Jew

Oliver Lubrich

The German public's perception of Jews is problematic in more than one way: besides an aggressive and latent anti-Semitism, less malicious clichés and even well-meaning efforts to relate to Jewish topics often fail to grasp the reality of Jewish life. Jews are predominantly associated with the Shoah, and thus with National-Socialism. They appear in research projects, documentary films, political debates and historical museums. If Judaism is portrayed as a contemporary culture at all, it is exoticised through visual topoi such as synagogues and kippot, Torah scrolls and paeyes, and transformed into a mysterious and obscure religion. Germans’ imagination of their Jewish fellow-citizens have little in common with the reality of Jewish life in Germany today.

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Disappearing peasants?

On land, rent, and revenue in post-1989 Romania

Cerasela Voiculescu

This article explores the recent transformations of the Romanian peasantry and critically discusses interpretations of these changes as either indicating the persistence or the disappearance of peasants in Romania. It shows that beyond the labels of depeasantization and repeasantization, which are extensively used to describe rural scenarios under socialism and postsocialism, it is important to take analytic account of the more complex social relations between different actors that are developing under the impact of interacting local and global processes. Given the sharp differences between peasants and the new class of agricultural rentiers, as well as the variations within the latter group, the different rent regimes in which peasants negotiate their control over land and subsistence involve complex relationships and statuses. The article concludes by hypothesizing possible ways in which all of these relationships could be transformed in the long run in the new context of the EU agricultural policy and by discussing two possible scenarios for the Romanian rural landscape, namely, those of peripheral and nonperipheral capitalism.

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Mohammed A. Bamyeh

The globalization of modernity obviously exceeds in its profundity the signifiers of open pathways and commodity circulation—clothing, music, food, and so on—tend to capture much of our immediate attention. In the first place, among tales of cultural dissemination modernity has the unique feature that it made its epoch without a heroic duel with any opposing force. The effort expended today to magnify the scale of supposedly ‘anti-modern’ fanaticism, or to force the world into the logic of a clash of ‘civilizations’ notwithstanding, the globalization of modernity owes much to the fact that, in its broadest outlines, it has never been truly rejected by any significant force in any society. Hardly any commentator on modernity, after all, defines the term in ways, which, upon closer inspection, reveal anything in modernity that should be anathema to social processes and longings everywhere. If we define modernity in terms of material outcomes—prosperity, longevity, lack of scarcity, leisure time, better communication systems, better housing, education, a wider range of consumer commodities—it is hard to see how any of this could be opposed by anybody, although these outcomes may be rejected by ascetic monks in any society, modern or not. If we define modernity in terms of social structure, such as predominantly urban life and within it a strong bourgeois class, it is easy to see that this outcome has been the conscious goal of policies in most of the world even before the termination of the alternative path of East bloc socialism.

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David Meskill, Optimizing the German Workforce: Labor Administration from Bismarck to the Economic Miracle (New York: Berghahn Books, 2010) Reviewed by Gregory Baldi;

Jan-Werner Müller, Contesting Democracy: Political Ideas in Twentieth-Century Europe (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011) Reviewed by John Bendix;

Douglas B. Klusmeyer and Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Immigration Policy in the Federal Republic of Germany (New York: Berghahn Books, 2009) Reviewed by Suzanna M. Crage;

Derek Hastings, Catholicism & the Roots of Nazism: Religious Identity and National Socialism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010) Reviewed by Robert P. Ericksen;

Review of Pertti Ahonen, Death at the Berlin Wall (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010) Reviewed by Hope M. Harrison;

Wolfgang Scholz, The Social Budget of Germany: Keeping the Welfare State in Perspective (Berlin: edition sigma, 2009) Reviewed by John Bendix;

Philip Broadbent and Sabine Hake, eds., Berlin. Divided City, 1945-1989(New York: Berghahn Books, 2010) Reviewed by Helge F. Jani;

Timothy Snyder, Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin (New York: Basic Books, 2010) Reviewed by Larson Powell

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David Wildermuth

By most accounts, the March 2013 television event Unsere Mütter, Unsere Väter (UMUV) marks an important milestone in the evolving cinematic treatment of the Third Reich, World War II, and the Holocaust. Winner of the Goldene Kamera for best television film of 2013, UMUV could boast such positive reviews and sensational viewer ratings as few other television films in the almost seventy-year existence of the Federal Republic. Frank Schirrmacher, co-editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, credited the film with ushering in “a new phase of the cinematic-historic treatment of National Socialism,” specifically praising Nico Hofmann, the film’s producer, for his “seriousness, attention to detail, and uncompromising” approach to the film. The Süddeutsche Zeitung praised it as “epochal” and “awaking the war in its entire monstrosity.” Der Spiegel lauded the film as “a new milepost of German cultural remembrance,” for posing “the most important [entscheidende] question for those born after: “how would I have acted?” Even Martin Schulz, the German president of the European Parliament, weighed in on the film, praising the film’s emphasis on the subjective perspectives of the protagonists. His argument for the innate power of the cinematic medium over the written word was echoed by screenwriter Stefan Kolditz, who asserted that the film—like all films—represents, “condensed reality.”

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Understanding Germany’s Short-lived “Culture of Welcome”

Images of Refugees in Three Leading German Quality Newspapers

Maximilian Conrad and Hugrún Aðalsteinsdóttir

The German government’s response to the refugee crisis in the late summer and autumn of 2015 has puzzled observers. Despite initially positive reactions to Angela Merkel’s policy, her position has weakened domestically, contributing to the sudden rise of the Alternative for Germany, but also alienated a number of Germany’s European partners. While the German government’s approach may be difficult to explain from a purely rationalist perspective, this article highlights the role of ideational factors, in particular Germany’s self-understanding as an international actor and a sense of moral obligation drawn from the continued relevance of Germany’s twentieth-century history. We demonstrate that the long shadow of the crimes committed under National Socialism played a key role in shaping German public discourse on the refugee crisis—underlined by a frame analysis of the images of refugees in three leading German daily newspapers between August 2015 and March 2016. Although the inflow of refugees was also framed as a challenge and a potential security risk, the material emphasizes Germany’s moral obligation to provide shelter to those fleeing from war and persecution.

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The Current Crisis

Initial Reflections

Steven Lukes

This is one of a set of three essays, exploring the current crisis in a Durkheimian perspective, and brought together with the first English translation of Durkheim’s own commentary on a world in upheaval, ‘The Politics of the Future’ (1917). In the opening essay, Steven Lukes suggests that a way to begin to reflect on the nature and long-term repercussions of the crisis is through Durkheim’s account of anomie. In the following essay, Mike Gane is concerned with an underlying paradox in which neo-liberalism is in practice a form of socialism and statism. In general, it reproduces the malaise that Durkheim analysed as a mass of individuals under the management of an overcentralized state, and in the absence of an effective democratic network of intermediate groups. In particular, it relies on a technique of power that involves a corrupted form of what Caillois analysed as the game, and that controls and manipulates the individuals constituting ‘human capital’ through a system of bureaucratically regulated game-like competitions. In the final essay, Edward Tiryakian asks ‘which crisis?’ Beyond the financial and economic upheavals, there is a wider, systemic, moral anomie. This shows up in various ways in trends, throughout western societies, in family life, education and citizenship – key interlinking institutions of the social fabric.

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Faltering dialogue?

For a doubly rooted cosmopolitan anthropology

Chris Hann

Both inside and outside Europe, many societies have drawn on their own textual traditions to generate bodies of knowledge possessing some affinity to comparative socio-cultural anthropology. The premise of this article is that even where the focus is restricted to one country or one nationality, such “national ethnography“ should be considered as a legitimate branch of a broadly conceived anthropological field, rather than belittled or denigrated. Under socialism, both native and foreign researchers carried out fieldwork in similar rural locations in Hungary. A dialogue began, but it seems to have weakened in recent years, despite the fact that access to the region has become incomparably easier. Another change is that Hungarian students are now able to study socio-cultural anthropology as a seperate program in a separate faculty, distinct from Hungarian néprajz. This article is critical of such developments and takes the Hungarian example to argue for the benefits of institutional unification. The resulting department would be larger and more cosmopolitan than the old departments of néprajz, but it would retain its local roots. The integration of “national ethnography“ into research and teaching programs in anthropology would facilitate the persistence of distinctive national, regional, and institution-specific intellectual traditions; such departments could also facilitate the work of fieldworkers from abroad.

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Frances Pine

The socialist states of the Soviet Bloc fell, some gently and some far more abruptly and even violently, between 1989 and 1991. In the two decades that have followed, there have been continual attempts by politicians, social scientists, and other academics, as well as by the citizens of these “former socialist countries” themselves, to come to terms with competing memories of what socialism meant, was, and might have been. Simultaneously, efforts to weigh up and assess a range of very different pasts are matched by forecasts of imagined futures that somehow continue to be driven by and predicated on this complex and kaleidoscopic remembered history. The present, the here and now, can, however, be even more complicated; in some ways it neither escapes entirely from the past nor really sets the stage for the future, but rather is a continual state of “becoming”. Just as “memory” is never a “true” reflection of a time or an event, but rather a multiple layering of recollections that change each time they are evoked, none of these complex and rather messy temporalities actually matches the “real” past, present, or future—all carry complex moral judgments, reflect moral questions, and embody the tension between what might have been, what is, and what should be.